Branding

A guest Cariboo Tales by reporter Brendan Kyle-Jure

A vegetarian and some kid from the suburbs of Toronto walk into a cattle branding. What’s the worst that could happen?

The editor of the Free Press roped this poor reporter into helping out his in-laws with branding about 150 cows last week much to the amusement of the other staff in the office.

Of course, there were some jokes about me becoming a new proud bearer of a brand myself.

I would like to say I had somewhat of an idea of what I got myself into and spent the drive to the ranch trying to psyche myself up for it. I am already hopelessly out of shape, which I find a little hilarious being a sports reporter and what not, and was already a little tired after crashing from the copious amount of coffee I pour into my body.

Figuring it was probably a better idea to go and make an embarrassment out of myself than to not show up, I pulled into the ranch and almost immediately realized that the cows knew more than I did already.

Now, one of the reasons I decided to go to a cattle branding was because everyone kept telling me that it was like a rite of passage in the Cariboo and if I was going to insert myself into the area, I might as well go straight to the deep end.

After watching a few of the far more experienced guys wrestle a few of the calves to the ground, I decided to get my hands dirty and partnered with my editor to take down a few of them. He had done this a couple of times before but wasn’t all that experienced either, but we somehow decided this was a good idea even when his mother-in-law advised against it.

Man, I tell you. Always making everything harder on themselves. Speaking of hard, it wasn’t easy dealing with what was happening to the poor male calves either.

In addition to the branding, a few other things are happening to the calves. They get an ear tag, a couple of vaccinations and the males will get a certain removal that would make anybody squirm while reading this.

It was all-in-all an interesting time, despite inhaling a lot of smoke from the branding and becoming a little nauseous at some of the sights if I’m being honest but I’m glad I did it, even if my apparent lack of knowledge and experience was very apparent.

I probably also won’t have to do any exercise for another week either.

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